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VA halts VirtualRiscPC deliveries

By Chris Williams. Published: 15th Jun 2004, 15:55:17 | Permalink | Printable

Market falling apart like a cheap motorcycle

Yesterday, STD withdrew from sale its RISC OS 4 ARM7 powered A75 and VirtualRiscPC employing A6 Windows PC, citing third party legal wranglings. And now, today, VirtualAcorn, have halted VirtualRiscPC deliveries, explaining, "although we can still accept orders for both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC Adjust, we will be unable to supply a delivery date and that all orders will only be accepted on that basis."

VirtualRiscPC is the popular RiscPC emulation software that allows users to run RISC OS 4, Select and Adjust (as developed by RISCOS Ltd.) on PCs running Windows. VirtualRiscPC is currently the only way to run a modern RISC OS on a portable computer.

Aaron Timbrell, of VirtualAcorn, commented: "As various RISC OS users may know there is a third party dispute which has caused supply problems in the RISC OS market. We are in the process of taking legal advice on the matter with regard to how we proceed."

STD also refered to two particular third parties who were locked in a "legal dispute", but at the time of writing hadn't commented on who they are. The knock on effects of VirtualAcorn's decision, in terms of what happens to the RISC OS dealers and developers who build PCs and bundle them with VirtualRiscPC, is unclear at the moment but we're inquiring.

Described by some as a "crisis", how far this undisclosed legal dispute will burrow into the RISC OS platform is totally unknown at the moment. Who will be next to withdraw is also open to wild speculation, as is the names of the companies involved. With the Expo 2004 show arriving this Saturday, hopefully we'll find some answers. For your information, Aaron's announcement is included below:

Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2004 10:49:59 EDT
From: ATimbrell@aol.com
To: News organisations
Subject: 15/6/2004 - Press release from VirtualAcorn

As various RISC OS users may know there is a third party dispute which has caused supply problems in the RISC OS market. We are in the process of taking legal advice on the matter with regard to how we proceed.

In the meantime we have been advised that although we can still accept orders for both VirtualRPC-SE and VirtualRPC-Adjust we will be unable to supply a delivery date and that all orders will only be accepted on that basis.

This also means that regretfully we are highly unlikely to have any representation at the RISC OS Expo 2004 this weekend.

We wish to assure customers that our tech support service remains open and that we will do our best to maintain our dedication in the RISC OS market.

Aaron (VirtualAcorn)



Previous: ChoX11 and Porting
Next: Castle terminates RISCOS Ltd. licence


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Oh dear, more bad news. I really hope this can be resolved soon before it causes too much negative impact.

 is a RISC OS Userfylfot on 15/6/04 3:58PM
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The dispute seems nicely timed.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 15/6/04 4:01PM
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Nicely timed for the show?

 is a RISC OS Userjonix on 15/6/04 4:12PM
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At least it is after Wakefield.

 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 15/6/04 4:13PM
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Surely not being able to specify a delivery date wouldn't prevent them from appearing at the show. Display their wares and take orders on the clear understanding of possible delay.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 15/6/04 4:19PM
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Surely it would be better if the parties involved just sorted it out:


 is a RISC OS UserAndrewDuffell on 15/6/04 4:25PM
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Very easy to misread. No, VA were never exhibiting at the show, the "representation" is of their products. e.g. RComp's machines bundled with it.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 15/6/04 4:25PM
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mychocky: before you modded down that post, maybe you should have read some of the comments on that page. It implies of some of the companies involved.

 is a RISC OS Userdaz on 15/6/04 4:32PM
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although I expect you to deny that you have high modding powers as usual.

 is a RISC OS Userdaz on 15/6/04 4:33PM
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Everyone has modding powers. It requires several people to mod down a post. But you knew that before complaing, didn't you.

The "companies involved" have already been implied by lots of people, regardless of links to TIB.

But this too, is off topic, and should rightly be modded down.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 15/6/04 4:34PM
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Oh s***.

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 15/6/04 4:45PM
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I really do not know the reason for their not attending... ...but I'd imagine trying to say "I can't comment for legal reasons" might be a tough difficult across the language barrier!

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 15/6/04 5:00PM
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Thanks for keeping us updated as you can, Chris; Drobe is in it's element as a crisis breaks. I think we all knew there were some deep seated problems festering within our small marketplace but hoped they would be soothed over, resolved through private negotiations, and not come to this. Perhaps, RISCOS Ltd have taken one liberty too many and CTL have had enough ? If so, (& I am guessing) I think RISCOS Ltd need to acknowledge that CTL have become top dog and seek to appease and make ammends. I hope CTL aren't out to crush them completely although I can't help thinking back to when Apple, having licensed some companies to make clone machines, withdrew the licenses leaving the clone manufacturers high and dry. Whatever the true cause of this breaking news, it is a great shame that companies like STD are one by one being grounded; they deserve better than this for all their effort and hard work in reviving and adding excitement to the RISC OS world over the last couple of years.

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 15/6/04 5:05PM
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In my opinion, the only people that can stop distribution of RISC OS at this level would be the people that actually own it.

Begs the question, what the hell is their gripe??!?

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 15/6/04 5:05PM
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Let's all try and keep calm until we know more details. The legalities of the whole emulation scene and the two strains of RISC OS have been rumoured and debated before - maybe this will clean things up. I believe CTL know what they're doing.

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 15/6/04 5:18PM
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I hope that the situation is not how it looks.

If it is, ROX on ARM Linux, perhaps?

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 15/6/04 5:24PM
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"ROX on ARM Linux, perhaps?"

Oh *please*. How are all the beardys meant to use that?

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 15/6/04 5:31PM
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Any and all comments below are based purely on observations/interpretations (ie. I probably don't know what I'm talking about :-))

Whilst I am (like many) worried by this turn of events, I can't help be excited by it (to some degree), any offers on the mini-series rights? Considering that both VA and STD have frozen product deliveries, could one guess (in a murder mystery sense) that the crux of problem lies in the OS/OS licensing - in agreeement with martin, have CTL decided to make a stand? Surely ROL's license agreement is the only thing the 2 have in common. Be nice if the source of the problem was outside the RO marketplace, I think we have too much scwabbling (just how the hell does one spell it?? ;-)), in this case perhaps we could be positive and consider that some 3rd party considers the RO marketplace important enough to notice - hardly a bad thing! If the 'gripe' is between CTL and ROL, then perhaps it is time for ROL bow out gracefully - whilst I accept that sterling work has come out of them, it's taken time - a lot of time! Was it over 5 years ago that ROL aquired a development license? Whilst many of the amendments have been useful (and a few vital) - does RO 4.39 really look like 5 years worth of development from 4.0? And not to start a slanging match about ROL's office policies, but I recall at the start of Select the intention to use Select for people to get the newest version straight away, with upgrades filtering down to the standard OS 4 version - aside from last's month release of Adjust, this is one more thing that hasn't happen, CTL are showing signs of being much more able in the business area of things, and with CTL opening new offices in Cambridge, repositioning themselves as sole RISC OS desktop developers (assuming the theory of the legal ramblings given to be true), building real RISC OS machines - almost harkers back to olden days, something which I (and maybe not all, but certainly some other users) would not see as a bad thing - 5 years in Acorn's calendar took us from (roughly) the A5000 to the SA RPC - now that was progress!

Anyway, I'll stop rambling myself now - needless to say I sincerely hopes the situation is resolved soon, and in the interests of the users/marketplace - and will continue to watch developments and Drobe News 24 - it's certainly more exciting than Big Brother!

Reagrds, Ryan

 is a RISC OS Userdrjones69 on 15/6/04 5:32PM
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drjones69: It's true that Castle have done a lot more active promotion and development than RISC OS Ltd. Unfortunately, for someone like me, this will all end up useless if there is no emulator solution (like VA) because I have to have a PC for my course at Uni next year and I definitely can't afford any native RISC OS computer. This is worrying me a lot.

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 15/6/04 6:07PM
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Oh yes, and it's 'squabbling' :-)

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 15/6/04 6:11PM
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"5 years in Acorn's calendar took us from (roughly) the A5000 to the SA RPC - now that was progress!"

I take it that was ironic? I, for one, do not hark back for the old days. If you remember, it ended in disaster. Let's not tread that path again.


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 15/6/04 7:08PM
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I agree with adamr. It's best to stick to tried and tested technologies rather than try and venture into new territory. The Iyonix itself was nearly a step too far in itself. Now they are trying to market it in other areas. :-O

It can only end in disaster.

-- nametirpS

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 15/6/04 7:22PM
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err, why can it only end in disaster? Castle are obviously confident in their product. It's been about now or a short while and as far as I know is quite stable. Why shouldn't they now try to push their product into other markets. Let's face it, someone has to, otherwise the RO market is will continue on it's hardy, rocky and dwindling(that how you spell it?) road to nowhere, with only a few die hards left using it in a matter of years. Yes, it's never going to be on the same footing as windows, but, you know, Apple are still around and Linux is pushing it's way into business. I think Castle are right to be trying to create a new market for RISC OS. Creating a new market is the only hope for the continued survival of RISC OS as an altertnative OS and as a community.

In reply to drjones69: Harking back to the good old days of Acorn is all very well, but let's not forget they made their fair share of mistakes,as as already been admitted. Acorn is not around any more. We have to look to the future without Acorn and not have our beliefs rooted to Acorn's hey days.

Whatever the legal wranglings are, the main thing is that they are sorted out quickly an amicably before we lose any more dealers and developers.

Sort it out guys!!!

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 15/6/04 7:45PM
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So RISC OS won't be run on Windows anymore, point is though it will continue on *real* ARM hardware and without paying a penny to Microsoft - while I can symphatise with Aaron and Grahame (VARPC is probably one of the best emulators around) - thing is it would ultimately have killed off the RISC OS platform.

So assuming that the above is "bad news" is probably uncalled for. It will shake things up yes, it will cause acrimony and so forth - but if at the end of the day RISC OS survives I believe it will be strengthened.

It's a cause of upset and distress for many but that (I hope) will ultimately put things right and secure RISC OS's future as an independant OS on it's own native hardware platform and that is something that I hope everyone can get behind.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/6/04 7:50PM
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AMS: I'm sorry but I can't agree. It's true that VARPC might take some users away from 'real' Acorn hardware but tbh I think most who would be prepared to spend 1399 on an Iyonix would do so with or without VARPC - it's really aimed at a) those who must use Windows as well (eg. me) and simply can't pay for two computers, and b) people who used to use RISC OS but had to switch and are interested in playing with the other platform (who would _very_ rarely be prepared to splash out on an Iyonix).

I'll be honest, I don't think RISC OS can really survive 'as an independent OS on its own native platform' anymore, unless there is something like VARPC to keep people interested who simply can't afford an Iyonix.

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 15/6/04 8:00PM
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Just to throw my oar in once more... (Continuing with the assumption that legal ramblings are between CTL/ROL)...Why must such a squabble (thanks for the spelling - mental block before :-) signal the end for VA? Perhaps CTL are simple tired of seeing ROL making so much money off it (via licensing), and simply wish to get the slice of pie for themselves - the market for VA only overlaps the Iyonix in a few areas - even better for them, take it all over and ship VA with Iyonixes - so people can use it on their laptops and desktops. Frankly I have no issues with paying dues to M$ if I can run VA on the same laptop, as much as I dislike it for most purposes, Windows is usable for some tasks, and pretty darn ideal for playing games.

On the subject of looking back on the Acorn days, granted they made mistakes (including closing the workstation divsion - damn you boland!) , but companies do - look how many mistakes MS has made, and how much it's cost them in the courts. Current RISC OS marketplace heads can't hope to reach the dizzy heights of Acorn without taking the chance - and no, that wasn't sarcasm - Acorn did hit the highs, the name is still recognised today (and certainly not always connected with failure) - even Microsoft still can't claim to totally dominate the Education market the way Acorn did in it's heyday. At the current state of market growth, can we expect the RO marketplace to any better this time? Acorn's market may have fallen towards the end - but at least it rose in the beginning, currently I can't help but feel the market is continually falling in numbers (same people, just getting new machines)

One matter of technical interest which some folks might be able to answer for me... With regard to running RISC OS on PCs (not necessarily Windows), aside from the work involved, are there any insumountable technical problems to prevent the porting of RISC OS to x86 processors? If not, why not do so? Take a standardised pc setup (to avoid driver/device problems) and sell as a RISC OS machine - just another thought.

I await future developments in this interesting saga with baited breathe :-)


 is a RISC OS Userdrjones69 on 15/6/04 8:06PM
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Hutchies> Castle have (apparently) got a big (embedded) sale somewhere so that should secure the hardware end of things. Point is could they continue to offer a desktop solution while an emulator was being sold ???

As to your comment that "I don't think RISC OS can really survive 'as an independent OS on its own native platform' anymore, unless there is something like VARPC to keep people interested who simply can't afford an Iyonix", so is VARPC the *only* way to run RISC OS other than Iyonix ? Of course not there is plenty of second hand kit that can be had *cheaply* and some of it of relatively high spec (close to the performance of VARPC). If you start from the assumption that the only solution is VARPC then the RISC OS platform would die which was my original point.



 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 15/6/04 8:10PM
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> "With regard to running RISC OS on PCs (not necessarily Windows), aside from the work involved, are there any insumountable technical problems to prevent the porting of RISC OS to x86 processors?"

The large chunk of RISC OS written in hand made ARM code is probably the biggest problem. There are others though, such as its dependence (in its current design) on SWIs, and I dare say the way x86 chips handle interrupts might be quite different. Of course, a ported RISC OS would be largely useless even if someone did it, as none of the existing software would work.

 is a RISC OS Userninja on 15/6/04 8:19PM
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" Of course, a ported RISC OS would be largely useless even if someone did it, as none of the existing software would work."

Well, unless you provided a decent emulation of the ARM as part of your RISC-OS-for-x86 software. Oh, hang on.... :-p

In a related thought, am I right in thinking that ROL once threatened to sue VA, claiming infringement of their licence? (This was about 1992, I think - but I might have imagined the whole thing!)

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 15/6/04 9:03PM
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AMS: You're quite right, and I was in a somehwat pessimistic mood when I made the rather sweeping 'RISC OS is doomed without VARPC' statement, but I do still think VARPC holds several advantages in comparison with other equipment (which then has its own counter-advantages in other situations, etc.). I just think it shouldn't be taken out. I like drjones69's idea that Castle may want to get 'a slice of the pie', which sounds fair enough to me - if so I just hope they can all sort it out amicably, _soon_.

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 15/6/04 9:07PM
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Hum ... here's my speculation, it even fits some of the facts:

AIUI, RO Ltd have a licence from PACE (now from CTL, under the same conditions one presumes) for the desktop market of RISC OS. There seem to be some interpretations of this:

The A75 does not look like a desktop machine to me, so can RO Ltd license RO for it? This does not explain the A6 case except...

Does the RO licence (to RO Ltd) only include ARM-based RO machines? This could even be an innocent piece of wording in the licence that has just taken on more importance than intended.

If the ARM-based bit is correct then it's not just STD that are affected, it's all VA implementations.

Just to balance things, it's also interesting why the Iyonix did not fall under RO Ltd's bit of the licence from PACE, an argument that RO Ltd made at the time. This last has been overtaken by events of course :-)

Of course, if I was being ridiculously optimistic, I would further speculate that someone was clearing the decks for a new native "desktop" market release; as A5000 is to A4 so Iyo... nah, it's not possible is it. Interesting times.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 15/06/04 10:11PM
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Oh, that's embarrassing. I see you lot are way ahead of me but on the previous (STD) thread. Teach me to read things latest first.

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 15/06/04 10:15PM
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To hutchies: Interesting thought about Castle getting a 'slice of the pie' from the sale of VRPC. Of course they already do - and there are contracts involved. Are you saying that Castle deserve more? How much more? Why? Are you happy about the extra cost that will put on RISC OS products? I'm afraid this is a bit of an ad hominem question as hutchies declares himself to be a Christian in his profile ;-) [to keep on topic at this point might require the use of the !Holy Bible software ;-)] And as there are contracts involved - and it takes (at least) two to agree a contract how do you see this happening?

Amidst all the speculation it's worth remembering that two developers have had to suspend their businesses (ie their means of generating income for themselves and their families) through no fault of their own. Whatever the dispute it needs to be resolved quickly and the legal bar removed so that they can get back to work and the rest of us get back to buying RISC OS products.

 is a RISC OS UserQ on 15/06/04 11:08PM
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Re my own earlier comment I did of course mean 2002, not 1992 (when neither ROL or VA existed:)

Since Stuart is pushing the A6 (outside the RISC OS market) as a development machine for the A75, it seems plausible that having to stop selling the former might put a hold on the 'native' machine as well.... So this *might* 'just' be a VA/VRPC issue, rather than anything more widespread.

(Having to tell potential customers that you can't sell them a development machine because of licence disputes is not really better than saying you're temporarily unable to sell them anything!)

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 15/06/04 11:34PM
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Ass mentionned previeusly in this articel and reccent ones, a 'Spel Checker' would be knice with the Message edditing on Drobe. That of coarse if the 'Shoe Strung' Drobe budgit and the 'Spell Shecker' licensing doesn't criple Drode. (Sorry about the spelling errors)! Overall, I am also using RISC OS 4 and (sometimes using) a PC laptop with VA - A5000, but at the end of the day I still would prefer the BBC/Acorn/RISC OS/VirtualRiscPC/Iyonixs technology move on despite the difference of opinions, past and current individual needs - including my own. I have to agree with "Tony Still's" (last comments in 22:11) and "sa110" New Market comments referring to Castle's (Iyonixs) develoments heading in new directions. So if the changes are hurting some people (including me) and forcing us to (eventually) change, then I feel that I personally should be saving an planning to go with those changes. I can see that the Iyonixs "may" be purely 32 bit, all new ADFS, and so on.... soon? Have Castle not been sourcing the market (and User clubs) recently (after the Wakefield) for ideas in their Merlin wish list? Rather than panic first (mind you I panicked too when I first read all this), we need to look at the whole picture of more recent events to piece this jig saw of changing moments. "drjones" Comments about "Acorn" that it is a known name. Very true and I think it is an important point despite what happened to Acorn. I mention RISC OS or Iyonixs to my (teacher) workmates and many friends and sales people in computer shops, but no one has ever heard of these names where as Acorn is known or rings a bell in their minds! Only one of my friends who works with computers in the security industry says that he knows of the Linux Iyonixs used at Auckland Airport. Sadly, if RISC OS dies out from all this, apart from all of us enthusiastic and skilled users, who else in the general public is going to know or care? Frustrating and concerning bad news for sure, but don't you think that more things have happened (good and bad) recently to us than ever since Acorn shut the door? Cheers, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 16/06/04 00:46AM
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I do hope it's just a VA/VRPC issue, and I do hope it gets resolved nicely without any mess, we dont' need anyone geting a black name in such a small well-connected market.

 is a RISC OS UserNoMercy on 16/06/04 00:49AM
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Q: Phew, that's all a bit deep ;-). I have to say that I'm utterly not up to speed on licensing etc. of VA, this was just speculation (based on drjones69's comment). I don't know whether Castle deserve more or not, and I don't even know if that's what they want, but I am utterly in agreement with you that the issue has to be resolved as soon as possible.

 is a RISC OS Userhutchies on 16/06/04 07:33AM
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does this mean my red squirrel and + os 3.1 emulation system escapes ? or should i promptly erase c: and d: and the various network devices connected... hang on, that would include my rpc. if this legal wrangling has anything to do with breaking licensing agreements because risc os is run under emulation, you can kiss goodbye to anybody keeping the dream alive on alternative hardware. we're going to need to see a huge investment in natively risc os equipment to save our system of choice. while i am 'against' emulation, it has a very real part to play in keeping risc os alive for the time being.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 16/06/04 08:29AM
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I imagine this will be on the front page very soon, but in the meantime I thought I would quote it here, as there seems to be a lot of interest. (Apologies if I mess up the formatting).

16th June 2004


Following recent press rumours of a legal dispute in the RISC OS community Castle Technology Ltd ("Castle") would like to make the following statement:

On 11th May 2004 Castle, as owner of the underlying intellectual property of RISC OS, terminated RISCOS Ltd's ("ROL") licence to sell RISC OS. This was due to the wilful and persistent failure of ROL to correct breaches in the terms of its licence.

For nearly 12 months Castle has been trying to resolve these issues, but has met with nothing but delaying tactics, intransigence and belligerence from the management of ROL. Castle has regrettably taken this action having had no other option after following due legal process, during which ROL's management were given every possible opportunity to negotiate a solution with Castle. They declined to do so and are entirely responsible for the current situation.

Other companies who are sub-licensees of ROL, have been notified of the licence termination. As an extremely unfortunate consequence of the termination of ROL'S licence these companies' products are now unlicensed. Castle has no desire or intention to harm these businesses, or act against the interests of the RISC OS community as a whole, and has been working very hard over the last few weeks to find a solution for them. However, ROL has refused to comply with the legal obligations placed on them by the licence termination and until it does so, Castle is unable to grant new licences to these sub-licensees.

Over the last year Castle has invested very significant amounts of money both in the purchase of RISC OS and in its ongoing development. This will become apparent to all users in the coming months as new solutions are brought to market. Moreover, Castle's recent announcement of the Merlin project shows a strong and continued dedication to bring to the desktop market the features it deserves and move the OS forward into the future with the many exciting new 32-bit ARM processors becoming available from various silicon manufacturers.

Castle has attempted to involve ROL in its plans, but has been thwarted by the lack of vision shown by ROL's management. Clearly, ROL cannot now continue its current business without a licence; Castle is in discussions with the shareholders of ROL to find a way to offer RISC OS 4 and Select to users. It is expected this will lead to a satisfactory conclusion in the very near future and offer a clear way forward for the whole RISC OS community.

Undesirable as the current situation maybe, Castle believes it will end with a clear definition of the future which is inclusive for all RISC OS users and software companies. Contrary to some commentators, Castle is committed to supporting 3rd party licensees of RISC OS, even when they are competitors. Anyone wishing to license RISC OS is most welcome to contact Castle to discuss terms.

Jack Lillingston Managing Director Castle Technology Ltd Ore Trading Estate Woodbridge Road Framlingham Suffolk IP13 9LL

Tel 01728 723200 Fax 01728 727427

web [link]

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/06/04 10:42AM
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I find the timing of all this suspicious. If there's a problem with the VA licensing why has it been allowed to continue for so long ? No, IMO, the licensing angle is a smokescreen for the real problem, sales. Does anyone have a sales chart for Iyonix ? I would guess its downwards and bottoming out since users have already bought them. The remaining potential buyers have RiscPC's, select,adjust, VA etc. Oh and look whats been hit !!!! Oh and look it would seem an Omega is coming out with Xscale. This licensing may not affect select/adjust sales but it will affect the income of ROL due to the loss of VA sales and thus hamper development of select/adjust. Who knows maybe select/adjust sales will have to halt next....

All very very suspicious.


 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 16/06/04 10:46AM
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mripley: Thank you for adding some more wild speculation.

From what I've seen, Iyonix sales seem to have been stronger in this last year, than the year before. Presumably because the first sales were just the early adopters, and the bulk of the market were initially waiting to see how well the machines worked in practice, before taking the plunge.

(Some of our findings with regard to numbers of Iyonix users, and other sorts of RISC OS users, can be found near [link] )


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/06/04 10:52AM
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In reply to mripley

I read the Castle statement to say that they had been trying to sort it out for some time and had given up on 'informal' routes, for whatever reason. The timing is actually very bad from Castles point of view, casting a potential shadow over their Merlin project, so I can't see them rushing into it.

Castle sold out of several models at Wakefield so sales there must have been above expectations.

Of course conspiracy theories are always more fun ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 16/06/04 10:59AM
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mripley: I am not starry-eyed about Castle, whose marketing in the past has tended to get somewhat ahead of actual performance IMO (viz. Kinetic) but even so your reaction seems excessively cynical. Castle specifically state above that they are "committed to supporting 3rd party licensees of Risc OS, even when they are competitors". The least we can do is give them the benefit of the doubt for the time being.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 16/06/04 11:01AM
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mripley: Well obviously desktop Iyonix sales are going to slow down. It's been over 18 months since release and most people who wanted to upgrade their RiscPCs have already done so. It's only a small part of Castle's market, and once everyone's got their 'Phoebe-replacement' the only new desktop customers are always going to be the small number of new users coming in.

No, Castle's main cash flow - like many of the RISC OS companies - comes from external businesses. We've already heard of Linux Iyonixes being used in Auckland Airport for example, and seen Iyonix mobos for sale on vaious tech websites.

Draw me a sales chart for Castle's *total* sales assuming the 50,000-unit deal follows through. This deal is being touted as a long-term relationship too, not a one-off Acorn-style selling binge, so sales (if successful) should be a steady amount. If successful - and I hope it is for RISC OS' sake, not Castle's - then the sales chart would be shooting through the roof as I'll bet that nowhere near 50,000 desktop Iyonixes have been sold to date.

I think it's very cynical of you to suggest that Castle are sulking about VA or Omega sales (do you really think they see the Omega as a serious desktop competitior now that they've effectively saturated the RISC OS upgrade market with Iyonixes already?) Your post gives the impression of strong anti-Castle propaganda to me (and I'm not trying to be anti-MD btw, I genuinely believe that if Omega had been completed before/soon after the Iyonix, then it would have been a lot more successful. I was a potential Omega purchaser too, but got fed up of waiting).

Plus I suspect that, unless Castle have other plans, they realise that VA (surely the more worrying competitior in the desktop market) is essential for anyone who needs to run RISC OS on the move. So they're not just going to completely kill off that corner of the RISC OS market. I don't know if you read dgs's posting of the latest CTL statement, as your posting only came 4 minutes later, but if you haven't read it yet then "Castle is committed to supporting 3rd party licensees of RISC OS, even when they are competitors. Anyone wishing to license RISC OS is most welcome to contact Castle to discuss terms" is reassuring enough for me.

What puzzles me is why, when the ROL license was terminated over a month ago, have its products still remained on sale up till now?

 is a RISC OS Useranon/unknown via on 16/06/04 11:05AM
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The most interesting item for speculation should be the statement:

"become apparent to all users in the coming months as new solutions are brought to market. "

That ought to keep lots of idle speculators busy ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 16/06/04 11:08AM
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Looks like ROL have to toe the line with Castle otherwise they no longer exist. ROL should take their head out of the sand. Castle want to protect their investment - ROL should support their customers ......Come on guys...JUST TALK

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 16/06/04 11:11AM
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What a bitter and rude unprofessional mess we read from Castle. They've taken to making "announcements" of their disputes via back alleys like the drobe forums? CTL have been scathing and derisory about Select for as long as I can remember and now they believe they have the power to crush it. They've done precious little development of anything since Iyonix was launched 2 years ago, and now they've just resorted to this move destroy the RISC OS market place to try and force everyone to believe in their bent view of the world. Crush everyone else selling non-Iyonix-crappy-version-of-RISC-OS products. Great idea. They're completely insane if they believe everyone will suddenly turn around and say "oh, we don't need Select, that crufty RISC OS 5 will do me fine, and oh look, I suddenly found a spare 1500 quid in my back pocket so I can get an Iyonix". Nonsense. This is just childish money-grabbing behaviour that will only result in destroying the whole scene. Thanks, Castle, for killing our OS. :-(

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 16/06/04 11:29AM
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imj: "announcements of their disputes via back alleys like the Drobe forums"

You are confused. Castle's statement was sent to csa.announce, news@drobe.co.uk, news@myriscos.co.uk, and other similar addresses (just like all their other announcements). It just happened to appear here first, because I thought people would like to see it as soon as possible - so that speculation can be rather less ill-informed, for a start.

I think the tone of the rest of your post rather speaks for itself :-)


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/06/04 11:36AM
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Castle posted their announcement on their website (news section). It has just been cut and pasted onto the Drobe forums by someone seeking to show they were trying to clarify their position. There is no announcement on riscos.com yet clarifying their position, but I am sure if that appears it will also be copied to the forums.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 16/06/04 11:37AM
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Well the statement clearly says it's intentions, but no one (including Castle) can speculate the outcome now of course! Castle appears to have never bought RISC OS Ltd just to shelve it and market it's own shelf product? Surely Castle would have (and does) realize the damage to RISC OS and Iyonixs if RISC OS was just simply bought out and canned (disposed). Castle's claim to forth coming developments obviously couldn't happen overnight, which is why I think Castle could not afford to dump the great aging RISC OS. The market gap would be too big (RISC OS to Iyonixs) for too long before Castle's competition to catch up (if it ever would in this situation). Anyway, wouldn't too many brassed of RISC OS users (if their market was dumped) move on to the other platform if Iyonixs was not ready to take the crunch? At least it is re-assuring to hear from Castle. :angel: ? Cheers, Steve.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 16/06/04 11:46AM
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to imj: CTL's statement seems perfectly clear and straightforward to me, and I'm glad one of the parties involved /has/ made a statement. As to the rights and wrongs of the action, CTL are entitled to deal with their investment in any way they choose. To accuse CTL of killing the OS is bizarre. Did ROL offer Pace a lot of money for the rights to RO? No. Did ROL meet the challenge of the future by converting the OS to 32-bit? No. Did ROL develop or support development of new RO hardware? No. I'm a Select user, and have been a subscriber since the scheme started, but if it's a question of supporting either CTL or ROL, I've got no doubt about my allegiance.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 16/06/04 11:46AM
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imj: Castle aren't relying on "back alleys like the Drobe forums" to make announcements. Check out their web site, they have the press release there.

From the anouncement I see no reason to assume that Castle are forcing end users to switch to RISC OS 5. They have stated that they are commited to supporting 3rd party licencees, even competitors. These 3rd party licencees all use RISC OS 4 +Select. Once this has been settled I would imagine that ROS 4 etc would still be developed (whether by ROL or Castle) and supported. Quoting from the Castle statement "Castle is in discussions with the shareholders of ROL to find a way to offer RISC OS 4 and Select to users. It is expected this will lead to a satisfactory conclusion in the very near future and offer a clear way forward for the whole RISC OS community."

 is a RISC OS Userj5m1th on 16/06/04 11:50AM
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@ian: Castle didnt made the announcement via drobe but via their own webisite. Dgs just picked it up very quickly.

Fact is that Castle now ownes risc os 4. Fact is that ROL ownes select. Fact is that they drink eachothers blood for quite some time.

I firmly beleive that it is *not* Castles intention to "kill" ro 4 in favour of ro5. That would be destroying their investement that they made. I think that Jack L. realises that it is in Castles benifit that there is an strong ro4 market. They earn money from that too.

Futhermore a strong ro4 userbase means also opportunities for Castle, since the majority of users are still using that. They are potential Iyonix buyers!

Fact is that, compared to "big" Hardware companies, Both Castle and MD are relative small players. So devolpment is in a different pace that one can expect from a big player.

Best for us is to wait that all the facts become available before we start drawing conclusions.

If you read the announcement carefully you will see that not all doors are closed for ROL. This is a sort of "last resort" method to bring ROL back to the negotiation table.

I do hope that ROL realises that it is better to work with Castle instead of opposing them.

We all benifit from cooperation.



 is a RISC OS Useranon/ on 16/06/04 11:54AM
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Sawadee: For your information, the Iyonix runs RISC OS.


 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 16/06/04 11:58AM
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1 bitter 2 rude 3 unprofessional 4 mess 5 They've taken to making "announcements" of their disputes via back alleys like the Drobe forums? 6 scathing 7 derisory 8 about Select 9 they have the power to crush it. 10 prrecious little development 11 anything 12 Iyonix was launched 2 years ago 13 destroy the RISC OS market place 14 bent view of the world 15 Crush everyone else 16 non-Iyonix-crappy-version-of-RISC-OS 17 Great idea. 18 They're completely insane 19 that crufty RISC OS 5 20 1500 quid 21 Nonsense. 22 childish 23 money-grabbing 24 result in destroying the whole scene 25 Thanks, Castle, 26 killing our OS.

26 insults and/or wrongs. A new record? This is very exciting, please continue.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 16/06/04 9:00PM
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Still more opinions and speculation written as fact. "Fact is ......." etc etc that's for lawyers to sort out (unless you have the original signed legal documentation and its totally unambiguous!). How does anyone know for certain that ROL is at fault for not being at the negotiation table. Is that because CTL said so or because people here know so or because people here want to believe its so due to their ROL/CTL bias.



 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 17/06/04 08:52AM
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